Outside PR

Life does exist outside of PR ( kind of…). Actually my other passion, besides for PR and all things communication ( and my family of course ) just happens to be karate ( for the last 22 years…). Ten years ago today ( to the Hebrew date) one of my karate friends was killed sitting in a cafe when a terrorist blew himself up at the bar where she was sitting with some of her friends.

Livnat’s memory lives on in her family and friends. It is hard to believe that ten years have past. My life was truly enriched by knowing her and having been her friend. She was a beautiful individual who showed me a different kind of Israel, a different type of Israeli and a passionate, tolerant, kind hearted person who was larger than life itself. The world lost her too soon.

Below is the email I wrote immediately after I heard the news. Marking ten years since her death, I’ve republished it here:

9th March 2002

‘Life’ In Jerusalem

Dear family and friends,

At the beginning of the Intifida I wrote an email, which quoted a friend of mine… After the first several weeks of terrorist attacks I had asked an Israeli friend who had been to the army, had lived through the first intifada, the gulf war, the “peace” process – how do Israelis get used to this violence. She turned around to me and said “Gina, you never do, you simply never do.”

Today I sit, waiting to attend her funeral. Livnat Dvash z”l – She was 28 years old, a beautiful, giving and warm Israeli “chilonia” (secular), brown belt in Karate. There is a special camaraderie, which develops between ‘fighters’. In karate training those you fight with on the floor, are your enemies. But off the floor, they are your close friends. I will never be able to ‘fight’ against her, help her train for her black belt or simply talk to her again. And now all I can do is see her buried.

As I am typing this, my fingers are literally shaking and tears are in my heart. The shock is still settling in. Yes – it was only a matter of time before it was someone I know. Jerusalem is really a very small place. I heard the explosion last night, I had just walked into my apartment 5 minutes before. My cousin,18 years, had just dropped me off at home and driven up Aza St. about 2 minutes before the bomb went off (in the Cafe on Aza St.) T.G. he is fine. However my friend Livnat z”l was in the cafe and she is not. I just spoke to her last week, she told me that she had been very busy and hadn’t had much time to train recently. As another friend from karate said “it was just like Livnat to go out to such a popular cafe.”
She just loved life.

I guess I should be thankful that there was no one else I knew that was injured in the attack. The café is in Rehavia, the area next to mine. It isn’t in the heart of town but it is in the heart of the city. Across from the Prime Minister’s house. Unfortunately, it could have happened to anyone because this is ‘life’ in Israel.

I was talking yesterday, shabbat, to my cousin who lives in Karnei Shomron (in the West Bank town that was attacked 3 Sat nights ago). She was saying that despite the fact that her 14 year old daughter buried 3 of her friends recently, they still feel like they cannot leave their settlement now. Last night I realized there is no difference anymore. There is no longer a distinction between the “West Bank” settlements and those within the Green Line. We are all sharing the same fate and we all have that same feeling “how can we live in this – but how can we leave?”

There really is nothing to be said and nothing one can do. We have to find a way to carry on, and we have to find the strength to be able to get up in the morning and go to work and to build Israel. This is the reason I am still at work now, despite the insistence of my bosses that I go home.

I have received a lot of emails from my friends and family from overseas. I know this is hard to comprehend what we are going through here and I know everyone is worried. I am still tackling both. What makes these tragic days even harder is wondering why the world is still condemning us. Please understand your support is felt here – even if it is just by you talking to your friends or colleagues and bringing it a little “closer to home”. Remember, Wednesday 13th March is Yom Kippur Catan (mini), it is a day of fasting and prayer in Israel for the situation. We do need your prayers and we do need your solidarity, even if it is from afar. G-d hears, no matter from whom and from where in the world they come.

I have never realized more than I do today how short life is and how we are meant to celebrate it. Live each day as if there is no tomorrow, spend time with family and friends and do not forget, there is no time quite like the present to tell the people you love that you care about them.

This is my opportunity – I am telling you!